Sky

Mid-form video: Beyond the long and the short of it

Video content is crudely defined. If something is not very short (<10 minutes) then it tends to be considered long-form. But there is a middle ground - one which displays a distinctive combination of characteristics in terms of production, broadcasting and viewing

Mid-form video (between 10 and 20 minutes) has the ability to carry the narrative arcs normally associated with long-form programming, whilst also retaining the snackable and shareable attributes of short-form

Retransmission fees: looking less likely

The DCMS has published the government’s response to its consultation on the balance of payments between television platforms and public service broadcasters, the so-called issue of retransmission fees

One sure outcome is that Section 73 of the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act (CPDA) 1988, which has hitherto protected cable operators (i.e. Virgin Media) from having to pay retransmission fees, is outmoded and will go

Parents and their children online

Cinema, TV and VOD services share in the same ratings regime in the UK, giving parents confidence they can discern content unsuitable for their children.

Risks to children of being exposed to unsuitable content and advertising multiply on the 'open' internet. 

Parental controls supplied by ISPs are key to filtering content and sites, although a unified approach is better 

TV genres and viewing trends over time

TV viewing has one reliable, long term trend: programme genres are watched by consumers at predictable life stages and ages

At a high level, there has been little manipulation of the balance of genres being broadcast. But amongst the sub-genres, editorial optimisation has resulted in an uptick in actual viewing

As the core viewing age of linear television rises, there is an opportunity for broadcasters to leverage this to create the most desirable schedule for their available audience by daypart; with genres that transcend demographics when younger viewers tune in

Sky plays long term with Bundesliga

The award of the match packages in the 2017-21 domestic football rights auction in Germany is probably optimal for Sky (within the “no single buyer” constraint): it will broadcast about eight out of nine weekly fixtures including the top picks, while Eurosport’s package is complementary to Sky’s rather than substitutional

Sky will, however, pay a hefty price, with the new contract costing 80% more than the current one – although the new Bundesliga rights value is not out of line with other Continental leagues

UK broadband, telephony and pay TV trends Q1 2016 - Slowing start to the year

UK residential communications market revenue growth dipped down 2ppts to 4% in Q1 2016, due in roughly equal measure to slowing broadband growth, some one-off benefits in the previous quarter dropping out, and generally weak ARPU likely caused by promotional introductory price discounting

Virgin Media was the only major operator to buck the market trend and accelerate broadband growth, helped by its network extension Project Lightning, and this impact will grow throughout 2016, with the remaining operators squeezed between this and the slowing market

New VOD rules for EU Digital Single Market

  • The Commission proposes to require VOD services to implement a 20% share of EU works in catalogues, which Netflix already largely meets
  • More impactful is the EU’s proposal for OTT SVOD services to provide access to the home service when subscribers travel in the EU, benefitting the UK’s 14 million subscribers
  • TV broadcasters, which observe a 50% EU works threshold in their linear programming served on TV platforms and online players, will be able to opt-in to portability

Sky Q3 2015/16 results: Content scale is king

Europe’s leading pay-TV operator Sky has extended its long run of strong quarterly results with revenues up 5% in the first nine months of 2016 and operating profits up 12% as Sky retains its intense focus on cost efficiencies and synergies across the group

The KPIs were largely very positive, though the churn uptick from a very low base in the UK & Ireland in recent quarters raises questions about the factors at play, while the one notable short-term uncertainty is the outcome of the Bundesliga auction during Q4

Sky’s German breakeven hangs on Bundesliga auction

At present, Sky exclusively holds all pay-TV domestic live rights to Germany’s top football league. The 2017-2021 rights auction will conclude in early June. It contains a new soft ‘no single buyer’ clause referring solely to online rights

Sky’s real threat comes from potential bids for the main TV packages by deep-pocketed telecom or digital platforms. This could see Sky losing games and shouldering significant cost increases

Vivendi, Mediaset and the Latin strategy

Vivendi is to acquire the main pay-TV division of Italy’s Mediaset in an all-share transaction, creating a ‘strategic alliance’ between the two groups. Each partner will own a 3.5% stake in the other. The deal is positive for Mediaset but the benefits for Vivendi can only accrue long term

Mediaset Premium claims two million subscribers and recorded €640 million revenue in 2015. However, EBIT losses amounted to €115 million and are likely to more than double through 2016 and beyond. The deal has no discernible impact on Premium’s bigger rival Sky

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